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ROH: Chris Hero returns, faces Kevin Steen
By MATT MACKINDER- SLAM! Wrestling


Tonight on Ring Of Honor television, we hit the rewind button with a main event scheduled between Kevin Steen and Chris Hero.

Yes, I said Chris Hero. Not someone named Kassius Ohno. THE Chris Hero.

The show opens with a quick replay of the main event of Final Battle 2013 between ROH World champion Adam Cole defending against Jay Briscoe and “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin.

During the match, Matt Hardy came out and interfered on Cole’s behalf and the champ retained with a schoolboy and a handful of tights on Elgin. After the match, Hardy KO’s Briscoe with the World title belt and then hits a Twist of Fate on Elgin before the returning Hero makes his way to the ring and KO’s both Cole and Hardy with roaring elbows.

Now back to the present and Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino and Prince Nana are ringside at the Nashville Fairgrounds.

Before the opening match of the 2014 Top Prospect Tournament starts, with the winner getting an ROH World TV title match, we get the news that A.J. Styles returns to ROH TV in three weeks. Woo-hoo!!

Match #1 – Top Prospect Tournament – Raymond Rowe vs. Kongo

This is your typical bald bearded guy with muscles and tattoos against a bad Kamala/Umaga ripoff. My apologies to Kamala and the late Umaga.

Corino quips that he was the runner-up in the 1995 ROH Top Prospect Tournament. Kelly notes that ROH only began in 2002, but whatever.

Kongo misses a Vader Bomb and Rowe counters with a Full Nelson lift and drops Kongo into a knee to the back of the head and gets three to advance.

Winner via pinfall: Raymond Rowe

Elgin comes out and goes nose to nose with Kongo before landing a back fist and a power bomb. Why? Elgin grabs the mic and challenges Cole. Hero comes out and says he and Elgin need to co-exist in Pittsburgh on Jan. 25 (against the Briscoes and Hardy/Cole at “Wrestling’s Finest”), but after that, it’s every man for himself. Now Steen comes out and says he’ll win the main event tonight over Hero.

Match #2 – Top Prospect Tournament - "The Benchmark" Bill Daly w/ Will Ferrara vs. Corey Hollis w/ Mike Posey

Daly comes to the stage in a suit and says he can’t compete in the tournament due to a high ankle sprain.

Technically, Hollis wins by forfeit, but Posey grabs the mic and says he wants to wrestle Hollis in Daly’s place. Hollis accepts.

Match #2a – Top Prospect Tournament - Corey Hollis vs. Mike Posey

Great match here that sees Hollis advance after a devastating back elbow as Posey flew off the ropes.

Winner via pinfall: Corey Hollis

C & C Wrestle Factory broke up back in November at “Pursuit Night 2” after losing in their bid to wrest the ROH World tag team belts from reDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish). Caprice Coleman and Cedric Alexander are now embarking on singles careers, which is a great segue to our next match.

Match #3 - Caprice Coleman vs. Jay Lethal

Awesome, awesome match. We all know what Lethal can do, but to see Coleman on his own against one of the best today was a treat.

That said, it’s not quite time for Coleman’s push and Lethal ends it with a superkick, and the Lethal Injection.

Winner via pinfall: Jay Lethal

Lethal grabs the mic and said he underestimated Coleman, who has a bright future in his opinion. According to the pre-match graphic, Coleman has been wrestling since 1998, though. Lethal then accepts the challenge of new ROH TV champ Tomasso Ciampa and says he’ll be ringside next week for commentary on Ciampa’s match against Silas Young.

In the back, Jay Briscoe challenges Cole next week with the winner getting Jay’s version of the ROH World title belt.

Match #4 – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen vs. Chris Hero

Hero looks lankier than I remember, but hasn’t lost a step in the ring at all.

The chants of “ROH! ROH! ROH” and “This is awesome!” define this match and it is a pay-per-view quality bout.

Corino chimes in again that back in 1997 while wrestling in the USWA, he had a terrible match at the Nashville Fairgrounds against Paul Diamond. I remember watching USWA back in the day on WADL-38 in the Detroit area. Great stuff.

Anyway, Steen kicks out of Hero’s roaring elbow and then Decade (Roderick Strong, Jimmy Jacobs and B.J. Whitmer) come to ringside. Wait, Whitmer? Thought he retired after Michael Bennett piledrove him on the ring apron last summer?

Hero jumps through the ropes with a kick to Whitmer and then gets back in the ring, where Steen meets him with a sleeper suplex for the shocking three.

Winner via pinfall: Kevin Steen

As Steen is walking to the back, he gets attacked by Cliff Compton, who proceeds to choke him out. Security steps in as the show ends.

I thought the S.C.U.M. faction ended, but now we have Corino, Hardy, Jacobs and Compton back? Just need Rhett Titus and it’s a clean sweep, eh?

Overall, the show this was week was incredible as always and I’m already looking forward to next week.

Matt Mackinder enjoys covering ROH for SLAM! Wrestling and has been with the site since 2006. Contact Matt at mackindermedia@yahoo.com.